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Afghanistan: Taliban declare three-day cease-fire for Eid

May 10, 2021

Just hours before the Taliban announced a cease-fire to mark the end of Ramadan, at least 11 people died in a bomb attack on a bus in the southern Zabul province.

A view from the site after at least 30 people, mostly schoolgirls, have been killed in three back-to-back blasts
Dozens of people, mostly schoolgirls, were killed in an attack on a school in Kabul at the weekendImage: Haroon Sabawoon/AA/picture alliance

The Taliban announced a three-day cease-fire Monday to mark the Eid al-Fitr religious holiday.

It comes amid a rise in violence in the country.

On Sunday night, a roadside bomb hit a bus in southern Afghanistan. According to the Interior Ministry, at least 11 people died.

The blast took place late on Sunday night in the restive province of Zabul, said the provincial governor's spokesman Gul Islam Sial, adding that 25 people were injured including women and children who were in critical condition.

What the Taliban said about a cease-fire

The Taliban statement instructed "Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate to halt all offensive operations against the enemy countrywide from the first till the third day of Eid."

"But if the enemy conducts any assault or attack against you during these days, stand ready to robustly protect and defend yourselves and your territory," it added.

The Afghan government ordered its troops to match the truce.

"We welcome the announcement [...] the Islamic Republic is also ready and will announce soon," Fraidon Khawzon, spokesman for chief negotiator Abdullah Abdullah, said early Monday.

Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, and the holiday begins according to the sighting of the new moon. The cease-fire will likely begin on either Wednesday or Thursday.

Afghan women fear losing rights

Rising violence in Afghanistan

Improvised explosive devices or IEDs have been used extensively by the Taliban, particularly in the countryside.

Sunday's bombing follows a brutal attack on a girls' school in Kabul on Saturday that killed as many as 60 people, mostly students between the age of 11 and 15.

The casualties from the explosions — the deadliest attack in more than a year — continue to climb.

The Afghan government blamed the Taliban for the attack, but the insurgent group has denied any involvement.

It was among a string of attacks that have sharply risen since the United States began the withdrawal of its troops starting May 1. Washington has announced the withdrawal of troops will be completed by September 11.

adi/rt (AFP, Reuters)